Saturday, 4 May 2013

May 2013 Featured Girl: Elizabeth Mansell

This month's featured follower is a great girl named Elizabeth. She is a homemaker-in-training who blogs over at The Country Handmaiden. Read on to learn a little bit about living off the land, her Catholic faith, and Oreos.

What drew you to follow Altogether Separate? Do you have a favorite blog post?

When I first came upon Altogether Separate a while ago, I remember the first thing that hit me was the sense of encouragement and camaraderie that I found throughout the posts and comments.  It is such a lovely community of likeminded, Christian young ladies, and I am very blessed to be a part of it.  I have many favorite posts, one of which is this one.

AS: Give us a little background. What is your home and family like?

Elizabeth: I live in a big old house in the country with my mom and dad, and younger sister, Therese.  My teenage brother is at a boarding school, so he is not around for a large part of the year.  We have a dog and a rabbit indoors, who are both very good companions. :)  I am graduating from high school in May, so I am very excited to see what the Lord has to offer me for my life as a homeschool graduate.  Some of my favorite pastimes are spinning, crocheting, horseback riding, sewing, and painting.  I also enjoy many different types of music, such as playing piano and violin, and singing in our church choir.  I hope to raise alpacas or sheep in the near future, God willing. :)  And here is a very random fact about me: I absolutely love Beatrix Potter.  Her illustrations and stories, her simple lifestyle, her love of nature..... everything about her is very inspiring to me.

What do you love best about your part of the world?

I will have to admit that Ohio is not my favorite state, but I do like the beautiful flat farmland.  We have lived in several different states since I was born and each has a special place in my heart. :)

How does your Catholic faith influence your worldview?

Do you consider yourself very different from Protestant homeschool girls? I believe there are many similarities between a Catholic and a Protestant homeschool girl, such as our commitment to purity before marriage and dressing modestly, but most importantly we share a desire to have Christ as our role model for a life of virtue.  However, as a member of the Catholic church, we have the true presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, which is a gift I could not live without, and that I thank God for every day.  My Faith also holds me to a very high standard in all of my actions and choices throughout life.

Can you share some important lessons you've learned as a "homemaker-in-training"?

I still see myself as a novice at learning to keep a home, but one thing I have learned is that homemaking requires a great, great deal of patience.  Whether you are rocking a baby to sleep, baking a triple layer cake, learning a new crochet stitch, doing dishes, hanging out laundry, or cleaning , the role of a homemaker calls for this virtue.  Another thing to remember is to go about your tasks with a spirit of charity, for you are learning to make a home not only for yourself, but your future husband and family as well.

What tips would you give to a girl who is interested in learning to live off the land?

One thing to do is to look for natural alternatives for common everyday necessities.  I like to look at different things and question myself “Do I really need to get this at a store?  Is there any way to produce it at home with supplies I can either grow, raise, or create somehow on my own?”  You would be surprised how many alternatives you can come up with.  Before long you will find yourself making your own soap with lavender from your garden, growing your own vegetables, searching the woods for medicinal herbs, sewing cloth diapers, spinning wool from your own sheep to make into warm mittens for the winter... all in an effort to return to that simpler lifestyle of times gone by.  The main motive of living off the land is to take advantage of the wealth of materials that God has provided to us right outside our back door.  I can not tell you how much I enjoy bringing nature indoors and using it in my everyday life.  It is very therapeutic and uplifting to breathe in that sweet spring air as you dig your hands into the damp earth of your garden, or sit on the back porch and card some sheep’s wool to prepare it for spinning.

If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what would you want with you?

I would like a speedboat with a GPS so I could find my way home.  Oh, and a bunch of Oreo cookies to keep me alive until I reach safety. :D

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